Two games to wrap up round 19 of the NRL on Sunday when the Canterbury Bulldogs face the Gold Coast Titans, while the North Queensland Cowboys entertain Wests Tigers.
The Cowboys will be expected to see off a struggling Tigers side as they continue to push for the top two, but cannot afford to be complacent heading into the game.
The Tigers squad are playing for pride and their futures and will be out to cause an upset in Townsville. And they have shown they are capable of doing that already this season.
The Bulldogs entertain the Titans in the opening game on Sunday. These two sides have just seven wins between them all season although the Bulldogs have shown some signs of improvement in recent weeks.
The pressure is mounting on Titans coach Justin Holbrook who is in desperate need of a win to try and save his job.
There is plenty on the line for all four sides on Sunday so let’s take a closer look at each game with the action fast approaching.
What: Canterbury Bulldogs v Gold Coast Titans
Where: CommBank Stadium, Sydney
When: 14:00 (AEST) Sunday 24th July 2022
How to watch: Kayo, Foxtel
Odds: Bulldogs 27/50, Titans 6/4
The Bulldogs had been showing signs of improvement under interim coach Mick Potter when picking up victories over the Parramatta Eels and Wests Tigers, while they had also given the Panthers a run for their money.
However they have slipped back into their previous bad habits when losing the last two games against the Cronulla Sharks and South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Admittedly they are two sides going well in the top eight but still the Bulldogs will need to bounce back against a Titans side that are one spot and two points below them on the ladder.
Avoiding finishing bottom of the ladder is now the objective for both of these sides so both will be up for it when they clash at CommBank Stadium.
The Bulldogs have played the last five games on home soil and the next three are on the road so they need to make this one count. The pressure is on to a certain extent.
Jake Averillo will miss out through sickness so Declan Casey is set to play at fullback. The Bulldogs have been handed a huge boost with the news that star winger Josh Addo-Carr has recovered from an ankle injury and is available to play.
The Titans have had a season to forget compared to last season when they played finals. Now they are out to avoid the wooden spoon with only the Wests Tigers below them.
The pressure is on coach Holbrook with many believing it is only a matter of time before he loses his job. A win over the Bulldogs could provide a stay of execution.
Holbrook’s men have lost the last six games on the bounce but there were at least some encouraging signs when they faced the Broncos last week.
They put in one of the best performances of the season and lost by just the four points. They beat the Bulldogs on two occasions last season but CommBank Stadium has not been a happy hunting ground of late. They have lost the last two games there.
The Titans have received a huge double boost though as Jayden Campbell has recovered from a hamstring injury and returns to the bench. While skipper Tino Fa'asuamaleaui returns to the starting side at lock.
What: North Queensland Cowboys v Wests Tigers
Where: Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville
When: 16:05 (AEST) Sunday 24th July 2022
How to watch: Channel 9, Kayo, Foxtel
Odds: Cowboys 7/100, Tigers 15/2
The Cowboys are flying as they sit second on the ladder and many believe they could be the team to stop the Penrith Panthers winning the premiership this year.
They did suffer a setback when losing to the Cronulla Sharks last week though and will need to respond against the Tigers.
Coach Todd Payten will however be boosted by the return of Val Holmes, Tom Dearden and Jeremiah Nanai. The trio were rested against the Sharks following their efforts with Queensland in State of Origin.
Having the trio back will be huge for the Cowboys. Five-eight Dearden has put on nine try assists throughout the season. Chad Townsend and Scott Drinkwater trump him though with 15 and 13 respectively.
The Tigers will be without interim coach Brett Kimmorley who is sick and has not made the trip to Townsville.
They are however boosted by the news that Brent Naden will return to the wing after serving a four-match suspension.
Wests Tigers can take heart from a narrow defeat against a weakened Penrith side last week when Adam Doueihi impressed when returning to five-eighth.
They have also shown they can pull off an upset when beating both Parramatta and South Sydney this season so cannot be completely written off against the Cowboys.